Police have been left “horrified” after 41 drivers tested positive to drugs over just four days this week.
State Highway Patrol officers from Melbourne joined Wangaratta officers in a blitz across the local government area between Sunday and Wednesday.
They used a mix of preliminary testing sites and random intercepts, in both marked and unmarked cars, to target the drug drivers.
Wangaratta Highway Patrol’s Acting Sergeant Patrick Murray said the tests were positive for cannabis, methamphetamine and other amphetamines.
“It’s fair to say we are horrified,” he said.
“If you do plan to take an illicit substance, don’t plan to drive for up to 48 hours – separate the two completely.
“It’s mind-boggling to imagine there’s so many people on the road with drugs in their system.
“The message isn’t getting through.
“Coming up to the Christmas season, where there’s going to be a lot more road traffic and it is a particularly high road trauma time historically, we need people to be vigilant and we need people to be smart.”
A first offence of drug driving carries a mandatory licence loss of six months.
This week’s blitz on drug drivers was one of multiple efforts to enforce road safety towards the end of 2018.
The Traffic Accident Commission has also funded Wangaratta police to work extra shifts as part of a special traffic operation called Rearview Mirror.
The officers have use the time to patrol rural roads outside of the townships and detected 85 traffic offences in October and November, including four drug drivers and two drink drivers.
“This is above and beyond normal shifts,” Sergeant Murray said.
“The majority are speeding offences because this is targeting high-speed rural roads.
“Roads that won’t be getting wire-rope barriers, they’re saying let’s put extra police on there for a specific period.”
The Christmas-New Year blitz Operation Road Wise will start on December 14.
“We want to act as a deterrent, we don’t want to catch people because we don’t want people doing the wrong thing,” Sergeant Murray said.
“That’s why we’re out there.”
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